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Nepal Travel Guide

If there was ever a place as close to Shangri-La as you could get on Earth, it’s Nepal. With ts prayer flags quietly dancing in the wind or its towering, snow-capped peaks that dominate its skylines, Nepal has an ethereal, untroubled way that steers you to an astral vibe that is truly mesmerising. Nepal is full of enchantments waiting to be explored. 

The Highlights

  • Pokhara

    This city about six hours from Kathmandu isn’t just a jumping off point to the Annapurna Circuit and the Himalayas. Many adventures, albeit on a smaller scale, are also scattered about within the city. Go on a quiet, yet scenic boat ride on Phewa Lake. Hike to Patale Chhango only two kilometres from the city. Paraglide, zip line or do both. And of course, sample local dishes such as momos.

  • Sarangkot

    No trek, big or small, is left unrewarded in Nepal. Climb up the steps from the hill village of Sarangkot and you’re treated to a magnificent panorama of some of the Himalayas most dramatic peaks including the summit of the seventh highest mountain in the world. Come at dawn or at dusk (the golden hours). It’s when the mountains are painted purple and orange that the view is at its most dramatic.

  • World Peace Stupa

    There are 80 peace pagodas in the world, and Nepal is home to two of them. Before leaving Pokhara, visit its own Shanti Stupa set atop Ananda Hill just outside the city. It’s a lovely place to hike to not only for the views it offers of the Annapurna range and Fewa Lake but also to inspire peace and serenity in you.

  • Chitwan National Park

    It’s both Nepal’s first national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While these accolades make Chitwan National Park a worthy addition to your Nepal list, its wildlife-focused adventures are what draw the crowds. A visit to a Tharu village as well as a canoe and elephant safari to see its rich wildlife are musts to complete your experience. Sloth bears, otters and tigers may also be spotted. 

  • Bhaktapur

    This ancient city is worth ticking off your list to learn about the history and culture of Newar people. Bhaktapur boasts exquisite palace courtyards, wood and stone artworks and pagoda-style temples. Walk around Bhaktapur Durbar Square and stop at some of the pagodas. Admire the World's Tallest Lord Shiva statue. If you can, time your visit during one of the festivals in town. 

  • Annapurna

    Tackle the Annapurna circuit, a trail that takes you through the Annapurna mountain range crossing two river valleys and the Thorung La pass. It’s a laborious trek that takes about two weeks, and you must train before your trip. But it’s also a rewarding one at that, passing waterfalls, verdant valleys, awe-inspiring views of neighbouring peaks. Maybe even take a dip in a natural hot spring.

The Basics

When to Visit

when to visit
  1. Peak Season

    September to November

    While many destinations rely on summer to draw the crowds, travellers descend upon Nepal in the autumn season when the summer monsoon has pushed through and the weather is dry and pleasant. Most importantly for the trekkers and the photographers, it’s when the country is at its clearest, offering great visibility of and in the mountains. September through November are the ideal months, the high season at times extending through December when the skies are clear and the temperatures are cooler. Another busy season is spring, from March through May, when the temperatures have warmed up a bit and the landscape comes alive with wildflowers. 

  2. Low Season

    June to September

    Hot and very wet weather is what you have to contend with visiting Nepal in the summertime. It rains daily and thunderstorms make occasional appearances in the evening. It doesn’t make for great trekking weather because of the obvious wet conditions as well as landslides and obstructed mountain views. However, it’s a good time to explore the cities, which are quieter. It’s also when the scenery is at its most dramatic, the rains bringing it lush vegetation and clearing away any air pollution. Additionally, if you can withstand the cold and only tackle lower elevation treks, the winter season (December to February) might be an option.

Nepal Tours

  • Visit Responsibly

    Travelling responsibly means respecting the communities, culture and environment of the places you visit. Keep these tips in mind when travelling to Nepal:

    Go green. Be environmentally conscious on the road by taking short showers; turning off the lights in your hotel room when you leave; and resisting the urge to collect any plants, seashells, or other natural flora.

    Respect cultural differences. Before travelling, read about the local culture and customs – even just knowing the dress code and a few basic phrases in the local language will go a long way.

    Support local businesses. Enjoy a more authentic experience and directly support the local economy by travelling with a local guide, eating in local restaurants, buying from local artisans, and staying in locally-owned and operated accommodations.

    Wherever possible, avoid single-use plastics. Pack reusable items such as your own shopping bags, utensils, a water bottle, and a straw. These items are typically lightweight and compact, and will greatly reduce your consumption of plastics.

    Be conscious of overtourism. Opt to visit the lesser-known regions of Nepal or travel outside the peak season – you'll likely even get a better deal and won't have all the crowds!
  • Sustainable Tourism in Nepal

    National Parks and Wildlife Conservation Act of 1973
    Nepal made conservation and protection of the natural environment a priority in the early 1970s. The nature conservation act covers the popularly visited Annapurna region, UNESCO sites like the Chitwan National Park and Sagarmatha National Park, and the Gauri Shankar conservation area.

    Using Tourism to Alleviate Poverty in Nepal
    In 2007, Nepal launched the Tourism for Rural Poverty Alleviation Programme (TRPAP). This program was designed to use tourism to help address disadvantaged groups by focusing on human resource issues, sustainable tourism planning, and collaboration between the local private and public sectors. When assessing the effectiveness of the program, it has been noted that the project improved infrastructure in select rural areas, thousands of people received skills training for tourism, and there has been increased access to capital for small tourism businesses.

FAQs about Nepal

  • Do you tip in Nepal?

    In Nepal, tip 10% at restaurants and hotels for good service, 100-200 NPR per day for tour guides, and round up your taxi fare. At expensive restaurants, service charges on your bills might not make its way to your server so tip directly and always be discreet when handling tips.
  • What is the internet access like?

    Internet connection is widely available, but it can range in quality and is often affected by power outages. WiFi, often free, is available in most tourist destinations and hotels while 4G is available in most towns if you choose to get a mobile.
  • Is the tap water safe to drink?

    Don’t do it. Buy bottled water, boil the tap water or use water purification pills. Make sure that the seal on your bottled water isn’t broken when purchasing.
  • Can I use my credit cards?

    Credit cards are widely accepted in Kathmandu and Pokhara at most tourist restaurants, shops and hotels; however, cash is still king. Plus, most credit card transactions have an extra surcharge and outside of the two cities, credit cards are not widely used.
  • What are the public holidays?

    Holidays include Prithvi Narayan Shah’s Birthday (Jan 10), Basanta Panchami (Jan/Feb), Maha Shivaratri (Feb/Mar), Nepali New Year (Apr 14), Janai Purnima (Jul/Aug), Teej (Aug/Sept), Constitution Day (Sept 19), Indra Jatra (Sept), Dasain (Sept/Oct), and Tihar (Oct/Nov).
  • What are the toilets like?

    Nicer tourist locations and hotels have western-style toilets. However, squat toilets are still the norm. Most just provide water to clean. Bring an emergency supply of toilet paper and put any used paper in rubbish bins.
  • How should you dress in Nepal?

    Dress modestly but comfortably. Baggy pants, midi or long skirts and loose tops are recommended for women, even kurtas and shalwars if you want to fit in, while longer length shorts, pants and t-shirts are advisable for men.
  • How can you help preserve Nepal's natural beauty?

    Responsible and conscientious tourism is of great importance. Carry your rubbish and dispose of it properly when trekking, use biodegradable detergent when washing in streams, avoid disturbing the flora and respect the culture.